Sunday, May 09th

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At twenty two years old, I feel somewhat like an anomaly in society. I still don’t have a driver’s license, I prefer the company of my stuffed blue monkey than real people, and I’ve never had sex. That’s’ right; I’m a twenty two year old virgin.

The main reason for my momentous decision to abstain from premarital sex derives from spiritual beliefs. I think my body is sacred, and only my future husband should be allowed to share a physical union with me (wherever he is, he can come out of hiding now).

It would be incorrect to assume that I am never tempted. I desire a man’s touch. I want to be held and gently kissed, touched and thrilled by sexual passion. Frankly, cuddling a stuffed monkey can only go so far. However, I know in my heart, those physical needs should be explored only with my future husband (Sorry blue monkey).

I suppose my wallflower tendencies work for me when it comes to the challenges of abstaining from sex. I’ve never been on a date and generally shy away from meeting young men. Some of my girlfriends are on the same path as most young women. They have social circles and date regularly.

Fortunately, I have supportive friends and family who admire my decision to remain celibate until marriage. My best friend is newly celibate and has confessed to me that she wished she had waited to have sex. There have been many girl talks over dinner about how we need to create our own series about virginal ladies. How surreal would it be to see a movie or show featuring young women who are comfortable and at peace with their decision to remain celibate until their wedding day?

Celibacy before marriage is a serious commitment in a country where sex between unmarried partners is the norm, acknowledged by society and promoted by the media. Gone are the days when holding someone's hand, giving a significant other a sweet peck on the cheek or resting your head on another's shoulder satisfy the need for physical contact. Now days, many teenagers and adults are eager to jump into bed together shortly after they meet.

Not surprising, when you consider how the media reinforce our hypersexual culture. Physical attraction is used to sell numerous products and services. The word “SEX” leaps from the headlines of current publications. You can read about the “SEX HE CRAVES” in Cosmopolitan or get "bed-shaking" advice from a real-life sex coach in GQ Magazine.

If what you read doesn't make you all hot and bothered, turn on your television. There are shows geared toward young viewers that feature actors portraying teenagers having sex. In addition, Reality TV offers opportunities to watch couples making out in sexy locations. How often does the value of postponing sex until marriage get significant attention on television, in movies or in print?

Ironically, the one place where you can find volumes of information about abstinence, you can also access sexual content as easily as water from a faucet, the Internet. A February 2010 article in Psychology Today reported two and a half billion pornography searches on Google and other popular search engines. It also says children of all ages have free access to some of the 420 million adult web pages.

What impact does this hypersexual content have on young people making what could be life-altering decisions? The percentage of unmarried teens engaging in sexual intercourse actually declined from 1988 through 2010 according to the National Survey of Family Growth. However, statistics published online by CNN Health tell us that teenagers are still hopping on the sex train. The Centers for Disease Control reports that between 2006 and 2008, 4.3 million 15 to 19 year old girls had sex at least once and so did 4.5 million boys of the same age. Almost 30 percent of these teens had sexual relations with more than one partner.

Here is another point to consider: reports that 70 percent of America's teenagers think teens having babies out of wedlock is not a serious issue. That could be one reason the teen pregnancy rate is rising after declining between 1991 and states that each year 750,000 girls aged 15 to 15 get pregnant in the U.S. Abstinence is an effective birth control method, if it is not abandoned for sexual pleasure.

The health risks associated with unprotected sex are also well documented. The CDC estimates there are 19 million new STD infections every year. Reports on also state that the number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases was highest among young women 15 to 24. Furthermore, contracting an STD or having multiple sex partners increases the chances of being infected with the HIV/AIDS virus during sex.

Despite the medical advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDs, the virus has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S. The CDC estimates that 20 percent of the 1.2 million people living with the disease do not know they are infected.

The CDC's research results are more alarming for the 14 percent of the U.S. population that is African American. Blacks represented about 44 percent of the approximately 48,000 people who became infected with HIV in 2009. Among black women, the rate of new infections is 15 times higher than it is for white women and more than 3 times higher than for Latino women.

These research studies are not meant to scare anyone away from premarital sex. My deepest concerns are for the emotional and spiritual well-being of young people as much as their physical health. In fact, a National Center for Health Statistics survey reported by says the number one reason that American teenagers 15 to 19 abstain is religious or moral, not fear of STDs.

Whether you believe in God or not, you should treat your body as precious vessel that you intend to prize and protect for the rest of your life. Dealing with your sexuality is a personal journey. Only you, not society or the media, should choose when it is right to give up your virginity. For me, the choice is for my future husband to know me before he knows my body.

WEB LINKS: - Teens & Sexual Activity


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